UW Credit Union Donates $100,000 to Life Impact Program

Three-Year Pledge to Assist disadvantaged Parents Attending UW-Milwaukee

Meeting with members at one of the UW Credit Union branches.

MILWAUKEE, WI – October 8, 2019 – UW Credit Union is making a $100,000 donation over three years to the Life Impact Program at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee that helps disadvantaged adult students with children achieve significantly higher graduation rates, along with their first career job.

The main feature of the program is a life coach team that follows a student’s progress and provides resources targeted to their needs. Since 2005, the program has served 192 UWM student parents (40 students on average each year) who have achieved an 84.2 percent graduation rate and employment within 6 to 9 months following graduation.

UW Credit Union’s donation helps provide a renewable scholarship to help remove financial barriers and greatly reduce the educational debt load for students at the Milwaukee, Waukesha and Washington County campus locations.

“The Life Impact Program has a proven track record for helping students earn their college degree,” said Paul Kundert, UW Credit Union CEO and president. “We support UWM’s breakthrough program because it truly understands and supports the unique needs and personal goals of parent students.”

In addition to a scholarship and life coaching, program scholars benefit from academic tutoring, professional development and personal support. The program also makes emergency funds available for crisis situations that get in the way of academic goals.

“The Life Impact Program is essential for low-income students with children and for our community as a whole,” commented Mark A. Mone, UW-Milwaukee chancellor. “The program supports those parents who aspire to reach their educational goals, for themselves, their families, and for a vibrant community.”

Many of the program participants are non-traditional students over the age of 25 and most of them the first in their family to go to college. Typically, over 50 percent of participants identify as a minority. Most grew up in an urban community and are graduates from the Milwaukee Public School system.

Deana Velazquez is one of those students who has seen her life change dramatically. “I graduated high school in Milwaukee in 2008, became a mom for the first time in 2013 and realized I wanted a college degree to get ahead,” Velazquez said. “But my biggest fear is one that most single parents face, the financial barrier. With the Life Impact Program, that big worry was taken away.” Velazquez receives up to $2,500 per semester to cover school costs.

Velazquez said the biggest benefit of the program is lowered stress for her and her two young girls, Mila and Amina. “Life Impact is a one-stop shop where I can drop in with any issue and get all the information I need to figure things out. It’s lowered my life stress significantly,” she said.

Velazquez, who has made the dean’s list and will graduate in May, is planning to apply to graduate school at UWM, UCLA and New York University to study educational policy. “Without this experience I wouldn’t have even thought about grad school,” Velazquez said. “I feel like I really have the potential to succeed now.”

About UW Credit Union
UW Credit Union is a growing, federally insured financial institution and a leading provider of a full range of financial services to University of Wisconsin communities. UW Credit Union's over 600 employees serve the financial needs of more than 250,000 members through world-class technology systems, and through a convenient network of 26 branch locations and over 100 ATMs. With assets surpassing $3 billion, UW Credit Union is ranked nationally among the leading credit unions. Founded more than 85 years ago by members of the University of Wisconsin community, UW Credit Union continues to operate as a not-for-profit, member-owned financial cooperative with locations in the Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Whitewater and La Crosse areas.

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